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Betting Line Favors Arkansas over Georgia
Bulldogs vs. Razorbacks College Football Picks and Analysis
What a difference a year makes. Arkansas hosts Georgia this Saturday Night and the current line at Sportsbook.com has Arkansas favored by 1. Had these two met early last season, Georgia would have likely been favored by 14 points or more. Remember, early last season, Arkansas lost 49-14 to Alabama, 52-10 to Texas and 38-7 to Florida. But remember also that Arkansas was in transition. Under new coach Bobby Petrino, they were going from a team that focuses primarily on the run, to a team that focused primarily on the pass. A huge transition. Things got better for the Razorbacks as the season progressed capped off with a season ending win over LSU.
The Arkansas Razorbacks have been missing from the national scene in recent years, but appear to be on the upswing thanks to Bobby Petrino. They easily dismantled Missouri State in their first game of the year before taking a week off. They will be hosting a team that has been strong in recent years but looks to be in rebuilding mode. That team is the Georgia Bulldogs. The crowd will be raucous as both teams seek a very important conference win.
Things went nearly perfect for Arkansas in their opener. They scored early and often while racking up 591 total yards and picking up a whopping 29 first downs. Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson combined to throw for 447 combined yards; a school record. It was encouraging to see the two youngsters sharing snaps. We know that both of the QBs are playmakers, but make no mistake; Mallett is the man for the Razorbacks. RB Michael Smith saw little action, but picked up 43 yards and a TD on 4 carries. He can be explosive at times and will play a big role in this game. I believe Coach Bobby Petrino wasn’t allowing his team to go all out, as to prevent Georgia from game planning. That was a shrewd move.
It seems like an eternity has passed since the days of Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hills. Arkansas is pinning their hopes of getting back to the top of the pile on a QB named Ryan Mallett. The sophomore stands tall at 6 foot 7 inches, and has the look of a future NFL star. He is aided by a plethora of strong WRs, including Joe Adams, Greg Childs, and Jarius Wright. WR London Crawford was injured in the opener and will not play, but this shouldn’t hurt Arkansas because they are very deep and talented at the position. The Razorbacks also have a deep stable of RBs that includes Michael Smith and Dennis Johnson. Smith rushed for over 1,000 yards last year and you can bank on him having an encore performance this season.
Georgia looked sloppy against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on the road in week one. QB Joe Cox had trouble connecting with his receivers. Things changed in week two against the South Carolina Gamecocks. In what was supposed to be a defensive battle, Cox threw for 2 TDs leading his team to a 41-39 win. The Bulldogs allowed too many penalties in that game. Total penalty yards were 108.
The defense hasn’t played well, the secondary in particular. They are giving up big passes left and right. If they allow Mallett to throw down field it will be a long day for backers of the Bulldogs. South Carolina’s offense is nothing special, yet they allowed them to put up 39 points. That does not bode well for this week, considering that Arkansas offense is considerably better than South Carolina’s. I’d like to see Georgia commit to the run against what appears to be a weak Razorbacks defense. If they can pound the ball effectively, they can take this game.
We still need to be careful with Arkansas. It's not a good idea to make judgments about the Razorbacks based on last weeks blowout of Missouri State. As bad as Georgia looked the past two weeks, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, Missouri State they are not. Georgia also has an advantage having played two tough opponents to start the year. The Bulldogs have been in two "real games". The Razorbacks have basically played a scrimmage.
Still, it's evident that Bobby Petrino is starting to wear off on the Razorbacks. They set a school record last week for passing yards and now get to go up against a Georgia secondary that needs a lot of work. Games at the Razorbacks Stadium are crazy. The place will be filled to its 72,000 capacity, and then some. Arkansas is a hungry team that is on the rise. Knocking of Georgia would be a huge statement. With the line -1, we're simply being asked to pick a straight up winner here. We look for Arkansas to ride the arms of Mallet and Wilson and come out on top in this one.
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